Markets

Investors gave stocks the business today, sending them tumbling in the face of earnings worries and the specter of

NATO

airstrikes (see below). Blue-chips, tech stocks, Internet issues, transports, financial services, oil stocks -- there was plenty of pain to go around.

The 30-year Treasury bond was modestly higher amid

AT&T's

(T) - Get Report

massive bond offering (see below).

European bourses closed sharply lower. Topsy-turvy Asian markets went turvy again, as Hong Kong's

Hang Seng

lost 66.23 to 11,041.01 while Japan's

Nikkei

sank 359.68 to 16,019.10 amid fiscal year-end profit-taking.

For more markets action and news, click

here.

Companies

AT&T priced its record $8 billion bond offering today.

TheStreet.com

yesterday

looked at how the offering should affect the Treasury market.

Bank of New York

(BK) - Get Report

is paying $812 million to buy

Royal Bank of Scotland's

trust bank, a London-based business that Royal Bank bought two years ago from

SG Warburg

.

This one is all upside:

Nike

(NKE) - Get Report

announced today that it will raise Indonesian workers' wages by 6%, putting entry-level wages at the relatively huge sum of about $30 a month. The Indonesian government plans to raise the minimum wage to about $26 a month next month.

Shares of

PathoGenesis

(PGNS)

are nosediving today after the company last night said that low sales of lung infection drug

TOBI

would cause it to lost about 30 cents a share, compared with Street expectations of 20 cents a share on the plus side. Last July

TSC

took

a hard look at PathoGenesis, which was closed down 26 13/16 to 12 3/16.

For more news on companies and stocks, click

here.

Tech

Internet auto dealer

autobytel.com

has upped the price range on its IPO to $20 to $22 from $16 to $18, according to lead underwriter

BT Alex. Brown

. The company's shares start trading tomorrow.

BellSouth

(BLS)

today said that its first quarter earnings will come in at the "lower end" of analysts' expectations, which range between 45 cents and 48 cents a share, according to

First Call

. The company said its numbers have been depressed by increased spending on high-speed Internet access.

After spurning a $777 million takeover offer from

Philips Electronics

(PHG) - Get Report

,

VLSI Technologies

(VLSI)

said it is considering starting negotiations with the Dutch electronics giant.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

has been in acquisition talks with Internet media company

broadcast.com

(BCST)

for a week, according to

The Wall Street Journal

.

For more tech news and commentary, click

here.

General News

Oil ministers today said that

OPEC

members have agreed to slash crude-oil production by 2.1 million barrels a day and to keep output lowered for one year, beginning April 1.

NATO bombings of Serbian targets became imminent today after Yugoslav President

Slobodan Milosevic

and his party refused to accept the terms of the Kosovo peace plan.

State Department

spokesman

James Rubin

said that Russian Prime Minister

Yevgeny Primakov

has postponed his trip to Washington in protest. Meanwhile, Yugoslav officials have declared a state of emergency.

Luis Maria Argana

, vice president of Paraguay, was assassinated at his office this morning.

The

Teamsters

union yesterday swore in

James P. Hoffa

as its new president.

International

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

(LVMHY)

today offered $6.3 billion for the 79.4% of

Gucci

(GUC)

it doesn't already own, besting

Pinault-Printemps-Redoute's

agreement to buy 40% of the Italian fashion group for $3 billion. A Dutch court yesterday ordered Gucci to negotiate with LVMH over LVMH's spurned hostile takeover offer.

Swiss energy and engineering firm

Asea Brown Boveri

and French energy and transport equipment maker

Alstom

(ALS)

will combine their power generation businesses in a joint venture that should be the world's largest power generator. Alstom today said it also sold out its large gas turbine business to joint venture partner

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

for about $910 million.

For more international news and commentary, click

here.

Elsewhere

A French study, partially funded by the French coffee industry, claims that coffee has no addictive qualities when fewer than four cups are consumed daily. Studies on the salutary effects of rudeness and teenage alcohol-consumption have yet to be released.

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